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Traders work the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in December. A resurgent U.S. banking sector is helping to light a fire under U.S. markets. (ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS)
Traders work the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in December. A resurgent U.S. banking sector is helping to light a fire under U.S. markets. (ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS)

At midday: S&P 500 retreats from record high Add to ...

North American stocks were down in midday trading on Monday, following a disappointing reading on U.S. manufacturing last month.

The S&P 500 was down 8 points or 0.5 per cent, to 1,561. The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average was down 23 points or 0.2 per cent, to 14,556. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 41 points or 0.3 per cent, to 12,709.

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The moves follow the S&P 500 hitting a record-high level last week – but come as latest batch of economic news misses forecasts.

The ISM manufacturing index in March retreated to a reading of 51.3, down from 54.2 in February and well below expectations for a reading of 54.

News abroad also disappointed. South Korean exports missed forecasts, as did Chinese factory output. In Japan, a central bank survey illustrated rising pessimism among large manufacturers.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 2.1 per cent in overnight trading. European markets were closed.

Within the S&P 500, industrials fell 1 per cent, consumer discretionary stocks fell 0.7 per cent and technology stocks fell 0.6 per cent.

In Canada, industrials fell 1.5 per cent, materials fell 0.9 per cent and financials fell 0.1 per cent. Energy stocks were relatively unchanged.

Among commodities, crude oil fell to $96.92 (U.S.) a barrel, down 72 cents. Gold rose close to $1,600 an ounce, up $4.

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